As we
observed last Friday, the Reps didn’t divide on the RU486 bill to avoid division
– if you get what we mean. The Government didn’t want any new narkiness over
the legislation put up by Democrat, Labor, Liberal and National Senators
Allison, Moore, Troeth and Nash.

We know
how the Senators stood. This is what happened in the upper house: Ayes,
45; Noes,
28; Majority,
17.

There was
a pair – unusual on a conscience vote, surely – of Liberals Ian Campbell and
Rod Kemp.

And Ross
Lightfoot abstained because, as Alan Ramsey later reported,
he felt “decidedly uncomfortable” supporting either side. Well,
marks for honesty – just the same way some members of the Reps deserve marks
for cracking speeches.

Peter
Costello and Tony Abbott lined up on opposing sides of the debate, but both
made stunning statements cementing their claims to future leadership positions.

Assistant
Treasurer Peter Dutton didn’t speak on the bill, but issued an unambiguous
statement “I received representations from constituents both for and against the
Bill. Ultimately I decided to vote against the Bill. While the availability of
drugs to treat cancer and similar diseases are properly decided by the
Therapeutic Goods Association, RU486 is one of those drugs that, in my opinion,
requires not only medical scrutiny, but also has social and political
implications as well. I therefore believed the Parliament should rule on its
availability. I was disappointed with the outcome yesterday.”

He’s disappointed – and voters should be
disappointed in other MPs who weren’t so upfront. What’s the point of a
conscience vote if you don’t know where your MP’s conscience lies? All we’ve
got to run off in the end in the Reps are the second reading votes. They
tallied up this way:

AYES: Adams, Albanese, Bailey, Baird, Beazley,
Bevis, Billson, Bird, J Bishop, Bowen, Brough, A. Burke, Cobb, Corcoran,
Costello, Crean, Danby, Edwards, Elliot, Ellis, Ellis, Emerson, Entsch, L
Ferguson, M Ferguson, Fitzgibbon, Gambaro, Garrett, Gash, Georganas, George,
Georgiou, Gibbons, Gillard, Grierson, Griffin, Haase, Hall, Hatton, Henry,
Hoare, Hockey, Hull, Hunt, Irwin, Jenkins, Jensen, Johnson, Jull, Keenan, Kerr,
King, Laming, Lawrence, Ley, Lindsay, Livermore, Macfarlane, Macklin, May,
McArthur, McClelland, McMullan, Melham, Moylan, Nairn, Nelson, O’Connor, Owens,
Pearce, Plibersek, Price, Prosser, Quick, Ripoll, Roxon, Rudd, Scott, Sercombe,
T Smith, S Smith, Snowdon, Southcott, Stone, Swan, Tanner, C Thompson, K
Thomson, Ticehurst, Turnbull, Vamvakinou, Washer, Wilkie, Windsor, Wood.

NOES: Abbott, Anderson, Andrews, Baker, Baldwin,
Barresi, Bartlett, B. Bishop, Broadbent, T Burke, Byrne, Cadman, Causley,
Ciobo, Downer, Draper, Dutton, Farmer, Fawcett, Ferguson, Forrest, Hardgrave,
Hartsuyker, Hayes, Howard, Katter, D Kelly, J Kelly, Lloyd, Markus, McGauran,
Murphy, Neville, O’Connor, Panopoulos, Pyne, Randall, Richardson, Robb,
Ruddock, Schultz, Secker, Slipper, Somlyay, Tollner, Truss, Tuckey, Vale,
Vasta, Wakelin.

Peter Fray

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